Windows 10 version 2004 downloadSource: Windows Central

The Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004) for Windows 10 is expected to start rolling out in the coming weeks, but if you can't wait, you can upgrade to the final version before everyone else using the Windows Insider Program.

The program allows you to follow the development process of new versions of Windows 10 from three different rings, including Fast, Slow, and Release Preview, each offering different levels of readiness.

Full review: May 2020 Update brings welcome improvements to everyday essentials

Previews available in the Fast ring include features and improvements coming to future releases, but they're not tied to a specific version of Windows 10. The Slow ring provides the changes expected to arrive in the next feature update, but the code could still be buggy and features may not work as intended.

The Release Preview is the ring designed to test fixes, drivers, and apps, but new versions of Windows 10 have to go through every ring in the program, which means that as soon as version 2004 is ready, it'll be available in this ring. Usually, this happens a few days before the feature update becomes available to everyone.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to download the final release of the May 2020 Update.

Warning: This is a friendly reminder that modifying an installation can negatively impact your current Windows 10 setup. It's recommended to make a temporary full backup of your PC before proceeding. Also, initially, Microsoft is rolling out the May 2020 Update automatically only to a small group of testers. If you want to get it immediately, you have to click the Check for updates button in the Windows Update settings after enrolling in the Release Preview ring. Furthermore, if you use Windows Mixed Reality, the company recommends to wait a little longer to download the update, because the experience isn't working correctly.

How to install the May 2020 Update using Windows Insider Program

Although the bits available through the Release Preview ring are considered final, remember that this ring of the Windows Insider Program is meant to monitor and detect possible issues before shipping the feature update to consumers. This means that there are still chances of coming across errors and unknown bugs when upgrading from this readiness level.

To enroll a device in the Windows Insider Program to get early access to the May 2020 Update, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Click the Get started button.

    Windows Insider Program settingsSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Link an account button.

    Select Microsoft account to erroll in Windows Insider ProgramSource: Windows Central

  6. Select your Microsoft account from the list.
  7. Click the Continue button.
  8. Under the "Pick your Insider settings" section, select the Release Preview option.

    Windows 10 Release Preview enrollmentSource: Windows Central

    Quick tip: The option can also appear as "Just fixes, apps, and drivers," depending on the version you're running or when you're changing these settings.

  9. Click the Confirm button.
  10. Click the Confirm button one more time to agree to the terms.

    Confirm Windows 10 May 2020 Update preview enrollmentSource: Windows Central

  11. Click the Restart Now button.

    Complete Release Preview ring setup Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the May 2020 Update will download and install through Windows Update automatically.

If you're not getting it automatically, you can also force the upgrade from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and click the Check for Updates button.

Opting out of the Windows Insider Program

After the upgrade, it's recommended removing the device from the Windows Insider Program.

To gracefully stop getting pre-releases of Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Turn on the Stop getting preview builds toggle switch.

    Unenroll PC from Windows Insider ProgramSource: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, and May 2020 Update becomes available to everyone, the device will stop receiving previews automatically, and you'll continue to receive maintenance updates for as long as the feature update is supported.

How to install the May 2020 Update using ISO preview file

Alternatively, this time around, Microsoft is also making available an ISO preview file of the final release of Windows 10, which any participant of the Windows Insider Program can download to perform an in-place upgrade or clean installation.

To install the May 2020 Update early using an ISO file, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Insider Preview Downloads page.
  2. Sign in with your Windows Insider Program credentials.
  3. Under the "Select edition" section, select the Windows Insider Preview (FAST) – Build 19041 option.

    Download Windows 10 version 2004 ISO previewSource: Windows Central

  4. Click the Confirm button.
  5. Select the language that maches your location.
  6. Click the Confirm button.
  7. Click the 64-bit Download button.

    Windows 10 ISO 64-bit download (preview)Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: Click the 32-bit Download button, if this is the architecture already installed on your computer. You can find out whether your device is running 64-bit or 32-bit on Settings > System > About.

  8. Save the file to your computer.
  9. Open the folder containing the Windows 10 May 2020 Update ISO file.
  10. Right-click the ISO file and select the Mount option to mount and open the ISO file with the installation files.

    Windows 10 mount ISO fileSource: Windows Central

  11. Double-click the Setup.exe file.

    Windows 10 Setup fileSource: Windows Central

  12. Click the Change how Windows Setup downloads updates option.

    Windows 10 Setup download updates optionSource: Windows Central

  13. Check the Not right now option.

    Change update options on Windows 10 SetupSource: Windows Central

  14. Click the Next button.
  15. Click the Accept button to agree to the Microsoft terms.
  16. Confirm that the Keep personal files and apps option is checked.

    Windows 10 May 2020 Update ISO upgradeSource: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If the option isn't selected, click the Change what to keep option and select the preferred option.

  17. Click the Install button.

Once you complete the steps, the setup will take over and upgrade your device to Windows 10 May 2020 Update using the latest available preview build.

After the upgrade, remember to go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and click the Check for Updates button to download the latest update and bump the version number to build 19041.207.

While there are multiple ways to upgrade early to the final version of Windows 10, consider that these previews are not quite ready, and they may cause issues during and after the upgrade. If you want to minimize the chances of running into problems, it's best to wait until you receive the notification through Windows Update after it's officially released.

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